August Unplugged Book Box Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            Whoops my bad at disappearing for like a month. I spent most of September feeling awful, note to self, don’t change up your probiotic it will merk your system for like a month

Alright so here we are, this is my second Unplugged Book box and I enjoyed it. I like the fact that I have changed all of the boxes I get in a month to one that actually gives me a book. It was either this or Once Upon a Book Club. I didn’t get their Halloween one this year for the first time in three years, but that’s okay. 

            So, this box was really interesting product wise, the book was not my favorite and that might eventually be what turns me off from this book. The last two I got were thrillers. I don’t read a lot of thrillers and for the variety of product fandoms that are encompassed in the box you would think that the book themes would be for lack of a better term, varied. 

            You can read the book review for The Drown Our Daughters below, it was a lot and not something that I would pick up on a normal basis, it would never really be something that I would go and search for either. I was not a huge fan, but it is not my preferential genre which is totally fine, branching and all that. 

            So, what was in the box?

A Discovery of Witches round towel: 

            This is super cool and this book is something that my mom owns and loved when she read it, I for sure want to read it eventually when I get through my whole backlog of books. I have so many books to read, you should see my Goodreads. I love the colors and the quote; do I know what I am going to do with it? No. Is it currently sitting folded up on a bench in my office? Yes, it is.

Practical Magic salt grinder:

            It’s actually a really cool idea to have a salt grinder and this book is also on my list, it’s actually in my Book of The Month TBR because I can get it from there and it’s a classic at this point. I have not seen the movie but I can hear the quote in my head that this salt shaker goes to. Seriously, this book is on my list! I promise. 

Wuthering Heights perfume roller:

            I have read a few retellings of this classic and I have not read the classic, the perfume smells really good though. The scent is described as misty moors, toxic love, and regret. I would say that I can’t actually imagine what that would smell like because it probably wouldn’t be great but I laughed when I read it. We all know that this epic love story was on the toxic side and I can’t say that I am surprised by that. Eventually I will read the book, it will eventually be on my list but I read ten classics last year in 2021 and I am taking a break from them for a while because ten classics in one year is too many. 

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy tea tray: 

            I have read this one and Douglas Adams’ books are more suited for the screen than the page in my opinion, I have read three of them and liked the movie or TV adaptations so much better. That is a personal opinion I know people who love his work. I liked Hitchhiker’s don’t get me wrong but I loved the movie. That was my introduction to Adams’ work when I was just out of college so cut me some slack. The tea tray is super cute and I love the quote on it because a cup of tea is very good at restoring a bit of normalcy. 

Craven Manor mud mask:

            I will probably not be able to use this, I will patch test it, but I have to be so careful with facial skincare products. I have never read this book and it sounds like a horror novel so it probably won’t be on my list, which is fine. I am allowed to not love every fandom that gets represented in a box. I think that in the last one there was like one, I think, no there was two because I added one of the books to my TBR. I love the idea of this product though and I will try it to see if I can use it. The packaging is super cool and really dark, so here we are with me liking it for what it is and hoping that my skin doesn’t react poorly to it. 

Book Review

Title: They Drown Our Daughters

Author: Katrina Monroe

Rating: 2.8/5

            There might be spoilers so if you want to read the book, I would stop reading now, I will see you with the next post. 

This one wasn’t for me. It just wasn’t and that is totally okay. I don’t read horror; I don’t like that creeping sensation you get with them. I also don’t read a lot of LGBTQ fiction. I wholeheartedly support the lifestyle, but it is not mine and that means that those feelings don’t make sense to me. I need to say that and get that out here now because I feel it necessary.

            Meredith went from being a really strong but fragile character to well… spoiler alert, the title still stands at the end of the book. I understand why, but I don’t like sad endings. It was to save her daughter and all the other daughters but still. Her mother tried as well and for some reason failed, I have no idea why.

            The whole thing about her great whatever grandmother still being alive was so weird and with that one guy from town who turned out to be the worst, like seriously, the worst. 

            I didn’t mind the shifting timelines but they all ended in death and that’s just not for me. It gave me bad vibes, I understood why, again, I get it. I completely and totally do because that is the plot, that is the story throughline. 

            Like I was totally into it for a while and as the book wore on, I got less and less into it. There were just things that never sat right with me as I was reading this, again, I don’t read horror and that will color my opinion on this one. The twists and turns were interesting but they became almost predictable and repetitive because you knew that they were going to die. Seriously, they all die until a sacrifice is made and that didn’t sit right with me. It never will.

            Not every book is for everybody and that is totally fine, this one wasn’t for me, the next one might be and that’s so exciting. I liked the premise, it was good and I liked the story in broad strokes, I didn’t enjoy the nitty gritty details. 

If you want to see how I felt about July’s box, you totally can go and look at that post. I will be back later in the week with another post, at least I hope I will be. September was rough, it’s rough being sick for weeks and also having a co-worker who made you depressed through your antidepressants. That’s all I’m going to say about that topic because it’s still effecting my real life.

Until I am back with another post i hope that everyone has a good few days, stay safe, happy, and healthy.

-MJ

Books I Read in August 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ          

Happy August! (well September now, so Happy September!) 

By the time that this comes out in September I will be back in school, which is totally fine it just means less time to read. My hope and I do really mean my hope is that I finish my predetermined 2022 TBR this month! I only have seven books left on the TBR and I am hoping that even with my extras this month that I will be able to get all the way through it. I just want to be a mood reader the rest of the year! 

I didn’t expect to open this doc up on August 1st but I finished my July Unplugged Book Box book today and I figured I might as well get it done. As of this moment I have read 74 books this year. That’s insane since in 2021 I read 77 books in the year; I am in shock that I have read so many this year. I joked early that I thought that people who read 100 books in a year were insane, my goal is now 100 this year. I blame BookTok and sadness. 

The Woman in The Library by Sulari Gentill (3.7/5)

            I wrote a whole post on it a few weeks ago so you can for sure go and check that one out. It was really good; I love the novel within a novel concept because that it hard to do overall. I have seen some less than stellar attempts in the past, but this one was overwhelmingly the novel so I was totally cool with it. Leo gave me the creeps (for good reason). It kept me guessing until the very end and that was so exciting. It was a solid novel that made me want to go and check out Boston. 

The Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons (2.2/5)

            I hated it, I slogged through 600 pages of unfulfilling novel and I hated it. I should have gone with my instincts after like 200 pages to DNF it, but I feel bad doing that. It had such potential but shifting between character perspectives and formatting between sections. It was weird. There were too many plot lines going on, there was too many subversive moments and I hated it. Sherlock Holmes is fiction or not fiction in a book that is fiction. I was confused, I was concerned, and I hated it. This one was not for me and that is totally okay. You may love this book and I might not see the merit or whatever, but I didn’t enjoy reading it. I should have put it down and moved on. 

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (4.3/5)

            I read all but the first 36 pages in one day. I could not put this book down. I love the characters, the concept, and the world building. I have already ordered the second one because I had to. I had to have it already even though I am not going to be reading it anytime soon. I loved all of it, it kept me wrapped from the first page to the end. I love Irene and Kai and I cannot wait to see where that goes. I love detective stories; we all know that and to have an almost Sherlockian style mystery just with magic and alternate realities was so much fun after the last book I read. Like we know that the library has secrets and I am so looking forward to seeing where it goes in the next book. 

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey (4.6/5)

            Y’all when I say that I couldn’t put this down, I couldn’t! TikTok made me want this one and now I want to read Hook, Line, and Sinker so bad. It was so good, I loved the characters and the world building in it, I want to visit this place now. It was spicy, it really and truly was but I have a few of her books on my want to read list and I have seen her on TikTok more than once. This was not supposed to be my next book, I was supposed to finish my Book of The Month book first, but I slogged through the first 100 pages yesterday and needed a good book. I finished it this morning. I was up until 11:30 reading it last night and up at 7:30 reading it this morning. That was how much I loved it, I really loved Piper and Brendan’s transformations throughout the book, it was so cute. They are a lot and I would want it no other way, can’t wait to see how Fox and Hannah get on. 

Small Angels by Lauren Owen (3/5)

            There will be a whole post out about this next week, this one wasn’t for me. This was my August Book of the Month and y’all know by now that I post that as a whole thing all by its lonesome. It was an interesting story and concept but it fell really flat for me. It’s just not my kind of fiction and that’s alright, it happens. I have read a lot of books this year and not every single one of them is going to be a winner. 

Star Wars: Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse (3/5)

            It was a filler book between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, it was fine. It was very much a filler with a lot of characters that I couldn’t connect with and a plot line that was messy. It was not bad, but I was so shocked that there was no perspective from Rey, it was a lot. The writer I feel like ships StormPilot and I agree with that so here we are. I also kind of wish that there was an interlude with the First Order. I was glad that I read Bloodlines a few years ago otherwise there would have been other things that didn’t make sense in this book as well. For a casual Star Wars fan, it was a lot. 

Well Played by Jen DeLuca (3.7/5)

            I wanted to love this one as much as I loved Well Met, it paled in comparison. Catfishing, but make it faire? I liked it, I really did, but it just didn’t feel like a cohesive story, maybe because it starts off where Well Met pretty much ended, well the Epilogue, I think? I am not actually sure and then it went to the next year, taking little snippets of time throughout the year so that spacing was odd for me. I liked Stacey and Daniel, I thought they were fun, but the lies were a little much. I loved the cat, Benedick was a great addition to the story and I am glad that she got out, okay I am. I am glad that Stacey gets to live her life. I thought that problem was going to be with her mom throughout. I will never stop hating the third act break up, I won’t. It’s a very overused trope in contemporary romance, and I am always glad to see a happily ever after or at least to the end of the epilogue, but I don’t like the third act break up. 

They Drown Our Daughters by Katrina Monroe (2.8/5)

            This one wasn’t for me; it was in my Unplugged Book Box for August and when that post goes out you can see a more in-depth review of it. It had some really good parts and some that just didn’t sit right with me. This might be someone’s favorite book and that’s awesome, I love that for you. I don’t read horror very often and this one just wasn’t for me. 

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (5/5)

            I loved this whole series, I read the first last September and then the second in November, I think. I don’t remember at the moment, but I could not put this one down. I love the world that has been built in this series and all of the characters feel very real. This one hurt, it hurt so much! I loved it though so much, the arcs throughout and the magic, I can’t! All of the twists and turns left no threads loose and I can’t say enough good about this book. The ending I felt like left it open and I think that she’s writing more in The Threads of Power, I’m not sure. I would love more with these characters, but I don’t know if that is happening. I loved the entire series though V.E. Schwab like Erin Morgenstern write these beautiful, thrilling, and vivid worlds that suck you in and don’t let go.  

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan (3.5/5)

            It was cute, but very predictable. I didn’t dislike this one as much as I disliked The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris. The main character going back to her ex who was clearly the worst, that hit me in a place. I liked the friendships developed throughout the story and it was cute. It was a tale of picking yourself up after great loss and keeping going. That seems a common theme in Jenny Colgan’s books, a new life in the face and wake of a tragedy. There is a second one that I will not be reading, like it felt very tacked on that (spoilers) Austin is moving abroad and she’s willing to go with him to expand her business. I thought that felt a little sloppy and just a ploy for a sequel. It could have wrapped up nicely in one book not with a Christmasy sequel. It was cute and I enjoyed it, but not that much. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson (3.7/5)

            It’s a movie tie in, I love a good movie tie in novel. I saw the movie when it came out and I did enjoy it. I really did, but I am also not a super huge Star Wars fanatic, I like Star Wars as much as a normal fan. I liked the movie and I know that a lot of people didn’t. Reading it was still different than watching the movie but I did enjoy both the novelization and the film. I really don’t have much to say about it though, if you have seen the movie and enjoyed it you will probably enjoy the book as well.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas (5/5)

            This is the last book for my 2022 TBR, of the fifty that I picked for this year I have read 49, one I did DNF. This book was hilarious, I laughed so much, the snowball fight had me just about rolling. I liked the different perspectives and I know that this is the bridge between ACOWAR and ACOSF, which my copy should be here at some point this month, I ordered a paperback and I am hoping it’s the same size or I will be taking it back to Barnes and Noble and buying their exclusive version. I loved it, I read it in one sitting because I wanted to get it done. I’m still not a huge Nesta fan and maybe ACOSF will change my mind, I don’t know if it will though. This series showed up in my life because of BookTok and I would say it was probably my gateway series to a lot the other books I have bought in the last year or so. I want to go back to MJ at this time last year and tell her about all of this. She would laugh at me because I have read 85 books this year. She would laugh, hysterically. Az actually talked in this one, it was like a miracle. 

Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley (4/5)

            Alright, there is going to be a major spoiler for this book, so if you want to read it, skip this blurb, I promise it’s a big deal. The revelation of him actually being engaged at her friend’s wedding almost broke me. I was so mad! Like there is still a happy ending but that almost ruined the book for me. Yea, soulmates are great and all but he was engaged! To the woman that he claimed to have cheated on her with when they dated in college. I loved watching their relationship flourish and then that happened and I was gutted. Like it left a bad taste in my mouth. I loved the book within a book aspect. The epilogue was weird, but if you know me, I think that most epilogues are weird and I am not a huge fan of them. 

            Alright, well I read 13 books in August which is insane. August has been a rollercoaster for me that’s for sure and at this point I don’t know what the rest of the year is going to look like. I am 20 books ahead of my goal which is insanity. I have read 86 books so far this year and I finished my TBR with A Court of Frost and Starlight. I finished 49 of my 50 TBR books, I did DNF one because I couldn’t get behind it. I think that my goal of 100 would have been lofty at the beginning of the year. 

            There were sure a few books this month that I could have done without reading and that’s totally okay. Not every book is for everybody there were also some really amazing books that I have read this month. Now I get to mood read the rest of the year and so this series is going to turn spicy, it’s going to just be fantasy and romance because that is apparently who I am now. I didn’t know that about myself until like October or November last year and now here I am…I am allowed to read and enjoy what I read and enjoy. I have to be a professional human all day and so when I get home and decompress, I want to read what I want. 

            Alright, well I think I need to stop on this post, it’s getting super long. If you want to check out the rest of the books that I have read this year (if you are so inclined or want to see my ramblings about books) you totally can! January, February, March, April, May, June, and July!

            So, until next time I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy and I will see y’all later in the week with another post!

            -MJ

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 10/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul, One Evening in Paris, Solsbury Hill, Girl Online: Going Solo, Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe)

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 9/9 (because one has been DNFed) (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, Dreams of Distant Shores, The Invisible Library, Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)

Historical: 10/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, A Study in Death, In Falling Snow, Sea of Lost Love, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, The Fifth Heart)

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 14/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Study in Ashes, A Clockwork Heart, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Beast’s Heart, A Court of Wings and Ruin, The last Days of Magic, The Devil’s Workshop, A Conjuring of Light, A Court of Frost and Starlight)

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 8/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, The Bodyguard, Small Angels, )

Extras: 21/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games, A Not So Meet Cute, Not the Witch You Wed, Hot Vampire Next Door S3, Hooked, The Flatshare, The Cartographers, Twisted Hate, The Library of the Dead, A Winter’s Promise, Well Played, Talk Bookish to Me)

Unplugged Book Box: 2/? (The Woman in The library, They Drown Our Daughters, )

July Unplugged Book Box Unboxing and Review

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            This was my choice to get this box instead of literally of the other boxes that I got up until this month. I got rid of IPSY and fabfitfun because they no longer align with what I am into and what I want. I decided that I wanted a book box. I love Once Upon a Book Club’s Halloween boxes because they are so fun. Maybe someday I will get that as well, this company though, popped up on my Instagram about a month or two months ago and I started thinking about subscribing. I bought this one as well as my subscription that starts in August. 

            Alright so this blog post will be two parts the first is what was in the box, they pull different fandoms and that’s super cool, different from Once Upon a Book Club, that goes with the book. Different companies have different things and I am not complaining about it. I just like the idea of getting a box with a book in it and items related to that book or books that I have read or maybe might want to read. The second part is going to be the book review when I get around to reading the book. (Which as I am writing this at the end of July it’s my next book on the list.)

            So, what was in the box? 

Song of Achilles tea cup and saucer:

            Never read Song of Achilles, from what I have heard it’s sad. I might read it eventually to understand. I do really like the tea cup and saucer, right now it’s going to stay in the box because I don’t have anywhere to keep stuff like that so while it’s really interesting and I love the artwork on it. It’s just going to have to hang out in the box until I have the room to put it out on display.

Verity hand and body lotion:

            Never read a Colleen Hoover book and that is a personal choice. I know people who have read this and no one that I personally know enjoyed it. The smell of the lotion is really good though and I like it. I have heard what it’s about and it’s just not up my street and that’s totally okay because books are subjective and not every book is for everybody. It feels really nice on the skin and like I said, smells amazing. 

The Jasmine Throne lip balm:

            It sounds like a really interesting book and the lip balm smells amazing. I am one of those people who uses lip balm like twice and then all of a sudden, I lose them. I have never actually gotten through a full tube of lip balm. Literally found seven or eight Burt’s Bees lip balms in my desk when I still lived in Indiana because I would lose one and then have to open another one. I still so that I have three? On my desk at the moment and that seems excessive. 

Book Garden Beach/ Garden Tote:

            This is the coolest thing! I love this bag. I love this bag so much. It’s super cool and non-themed to a book. I love this bag and I plan on using it all the time. I love the artwork on the front of it and the rope handles. I am going to love using this canvas bag and I can’t get over how nice this one is. There is a zipper on top and that is such a cool feature! 

Tea bag holder:

            It looks like a squirrel! It’s super cute. I drink a lot of tea during the fall and winter so having this as a cute little friend on the edge of my teacup is going to be so fun! It’s just a cute little red silicon squirrel. I love the idea of it and that’s so exciting! 

These two were different from what was in the booklet, so just an FYI. 

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires vampire repellent rosemary oil:

            This book I have seen in Barnes and Noble before and I haven’t bought it, I want to read it now. I now just have a bottle of rosemary oil on my desk. I am not real mad about that and I like essential oils, I usually diffuse essential oils again, during the fall and winter. It smells good and that’s about all I want when I have oils, I just don’t use it on my skin because that’s just not something I deal with.

Sherlock Holmes amethyst bath bomb:

            Another thing that smells amazing. I cannot use bath bombs in my bathtub because my bathtub doesn’t seal properly to allow me to use it. It’s bergamot (which is one of my fave scents), sandalwood, and mysteries. I don’t know what mysteries smell like but I do like that already. I really love bath bombs though; I miss being able to use them. 

            Now for the book! 

The Woman in The Library by Sulari Gentill (3.7/5)

            It was really interesting. I loved the fact that it was a book in a book. I really enjoyed watching the emails from Leo, you never hear from the author Hannah and I thought that was really interesting. It kept me guessing from the first page on who actually did it. They leaned into one character super hard and that was kind of how I figured out that he didn’t actually do it. I figured that out pretty early on. The emails with Leo! They got me real creeped out real quick and that was one thing that was also super interesting throughout because you watch this character devolve into well…read the book to find out. 

            I loved the characters in the novel within the novel though and I was happy about the little touch of a love story. I am American so seeing all of the stuff about the author and the author being Australian was really cool to see just the subtle differences in the dialogue and actions. I read a lot of English fiction though so it wasn’t as jarring as it might be for others. 

            I have never been to Boston but I would really like to go see the reading room now. I want to live in a big city for the big city libraries alone, nothing else, just these big public libraries in old buildings with history and architecture. I grew up near Chicago and I was never in the Chicago Public Library, but I should have gone, I should have gone whenever I was in the city. 

            This book was a really good book though, I am actually really glad that it touched on the pandemic and the racial tensions in this country because that’s just what we are dealing with. I really liked that the novel in the novel was pandemic free. (As someone who writes, I have left it out of a lot of my books because the pandemic was hard, it was so much and it changed so much, I have written it into a few, but I wanted to use the alternative timeline where we didn’t have millions and millions of people die.)

            The descriptions were great, the reality of it all was really interesting, but the ending came up super-fast for me and it did leave the ending open because of a character that is mutual between the novel and the novel within a novel. The character building in this was phenomenal though and I loved seeing all the twists and turns and secrets uncovered throughout the entire novel. 

            I want to know if they actually got a happy ending! Though sometimes with thrillers you don’t get that “happy ending”, I am a fan of the happy ending though so, I would have loved an epilogue in this one. 

Overall:

            The box is super cool and I am looking forward to August! That’s all I can say about it at the moment, I am excited to see the stuff this upcoming month. The book choice was good, the self-care items are nice and you know what; This box suits me more than some of the other boxes that I used to get. I used to get so many lifestyle boxes that just no longer suited me. 

            Alright, until next time, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy! 

            -MJ 

July 2022 Book of The Month Review:

Title: The Bodyguard

Author: Katherine Center

Rating: 4.3/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, I read it in literally an afternoon, I could not put it down. I have not read many bodyguard romances, but this was a reverse of that, she was the bodyguard and I loved the dynamic. It was super cute. I am going to start it out with that, it was very cute with a lot of tropes that I really enjoy. Some that I for sure do not though, but those were minor in this one. 

            Alright, per usual with these there might be spoilers so roll with me and if you want to read this one, don’t read this review. That’s just what it is at this point.

            I love the character of Hannah, she’s so much fun, the beginning starts out so sad for her though losing her mom and then her boyfriend dumping her literally the day after the funeral. I did not like the character of Robby, there are plenty of characters in fiction that I would really like to kick; he is one of them. Then he sleeps with her work bestie, not cool my guy, not cool.

            So, she gets an assignment to protect Jack, who looks like Zach Efron on the cover of the book. It is just an observation, nothing more. I love his character and their meet cute of him thinking she was his housekeeper was hilarious. Then she flips him over her shoulder and I knew that of course they would end up together.

            There is a scene with cows which I loved so much! Like the banter in this book is amazing, such good banter.

            There are so many twists and turns in this as Hannah and Jack start to work together and then she has to be his fake girlfriend because his mom is sick and they don’t want to worry her because he is being stalked. So, she has to go with him and you watch this amazing relationship bloom. You find out really early on that his brother died in a car accident and there are some really conflicting stories about it throughout. Until it is revealed late in the story what actually happened.

            So she has to leave because someone threatens “the girlfriend” and she is forced off his case. She goes to Thanksgiving they make out a little and he asks her on a date for the next day. 

            Then there is a rejection and it almost made me throw the book across my living room. I was so mad! When I tell y’all that I was livid, I was! Then you find out that there is someone in his house threatening his life and then Hannah gets to put her skills to use. 

            Of course it is a happy ending and I was so happy that it was a happy ending because if it wasn’t, man I would have been upset. The epilogue was a little long for me, but I also am not a huge fan of epilogues, I have written a few, but they are not my favorites. 

            I need to talk about the book stylistically. Just for a second. It was a super cute read content wise and story progression wise, no spice, which is totally fine in a romantic comedy. It didn’t have a lot of detail, there were pages that were just dialogue and I was confused at times who was speaking. That’s okay and I know that some writers don’t do sweeping prose, I am guilty of that in my own writing. But the lack of dialogue tags or extra descriptions was jarring. 

            I loved the banter; it was only 302 pages so it was a short little beach read and I really enjoyed it. I liked that it was from one perspective even though I would love to have seen some of it from Jack’s point of view because I want to see when he really fell for her. I want to see when he went all heart eyes for her. I think it’s mentioned in the book, but I loved it. 

            So, this book was really good and if you are looking for a cute little palette cleanser, (which I for sure did) this one is for sure for you. 

            If you want to check out what else I have read from Book of the Month this year, you totally can because all of those posts are already live: January, February, March, April, May, and June

            I will be back later in the week for another post so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

            -MJ

Books I Read in July 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            It’s July, like seriously, how? At this point time is a construct that I no longer subscribe to, I don’t feel like it anymore. 

            I wrote somewhere around 250,000 words last month, I actually think it was more than that so I didn’t get as much read as I would have liked so I am hoping that in July I can read 12 books, I really am, but if I don’t, I am not going to stress out about it. 

            I am opening this for the first time on the 2nd because I finished a book, I started in June but just didn’t have the want to finish. The book was amazing, but I just didn’t want to read. 

            So, without unnecessary pausing, I will get right into it, enjoy.

The Cartogrpahers by Peng Shepherd (4.2/5)

            It was so good; it took me a while to get into and the ending left me with questions and a need for a wrap up. I love realistic fantasy and the idea of hidden Easter eggs in maps being like they are in this book was fascinating. I really liked the murder mystery element of it as well, it almost read like an escape room. I don’t know how else to describe it, I for sure had a few “holy plot twists Batman!” moments in this one as well. There was one that I called about halfway through. I normally don’t like interstitial chapters in books, but here they told a very important story within the story that tied the past and present together and that was so important for the story as a whole. It was beautifully written and I would for sure read a sequel if there was one to happen eventually. 

One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau (3/5)

            It was fine. I liked parts of it for sure but other parts felt thrown in like the editor said “we need more pages”, it has the miscommunication trope which is never something that I really enjoy. It was messy, it was just a little messy and it felt rushed and then too slow and the characters were flat. It is this love story where they meet and then she disappears and he’s searching Paris for it, she’s in it like 30 pages so I didn’t feel the romance of it. There was a good chunk of the book where I thought that she was like a time traveler or from an old film or something, it was a lot. She wasn’t. The ending felt rushed and cramped which was a little weird for the pacing of the rest of the novel. It ended happy so that was good. 

The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins (3/5)

            There was so much potential in this one. Like the first chapter and the epilogue, that’s the story I want. That’s what I want to read. The modern twist of it all, but like it was a lot. No shame or hate to the author, I loved the concept but for me there were a lot of things that just weren’t great. Like the mention of SA was not cool, also just the treatment of the concept of sex as well. There were just some things that hit me wrong, like Aisling she changed so much and I understand that trauma changes someone but she did a complete 180 in like fifteen pages. There were so many story lines and so many that just felt rushed in and then unfinished. Anything with the French king made my skin crawl. I had such high hopes for this book, but it wasn’t for me and that’s okay. I know that not every book will be my favorite and when I bought this I might have enjoyed it more, that is the reason for the TBR, to weed my collection. This one will be weeded at the end of the year. 

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (4.3/5)

            This was my July Book of the Month, so there is a whole post that will be coming out in a few days. I know that I say this every month with my BoTM’s and it’s still true. I am a huge fan of this book though; it was really cute after some disappointing books in the last few weeks. Really cute banter, body guard rom com, and I loved it so much!

Dreams of Distant Shores by Patricia McKillip (4/5)

            I saw this in Barnes and Noble several years ago and the cover was what caught me. I knew nothing about it but I wanted it and I pined over it for months because it looked so good. It did not disappoint, normally I don’t read short stories and novellas, this was a collection of them. My two favorites were The Gorgon in the Cupboard and Something Rich and Strange which was the novella. It was all wonderfully weird and written with such beautiful prose. Some of the stories I expected different things but I was never disappointed. If you like quick reads this one for sure is one because it’s 6 short stories and a novella they are very quick reads and I would read a whole book with the two stories that I mentioned about, whole novels. 

Twisted Hate by Ana Huang (4.4/5)

            Check the content and trigger warnings, I will always say that with romance novels that are not 100% romantic comedies. This one was…so spicy and like 500 pages. I read it in two days because I got sucked in. There are for sure some triggers for people, little degradation which in real life could not be into, it was rough and a little violent. I love Josh and Jules though, also if they would have involved Alex early on everything could have been avoided because having Alex in their lives just would have made it so much easier. I loved all the twists and turns and of course watching the enemies with benefits go to loving each other, it wouldn’t be a romance novel if they didn’t. I love a good romance though so do not get me wrong. We see so much more of Jules and her story in this one, it is her story, but from what we saw in Twisted Love and Twisted Games she is a very deep character and I was happy to read her story. I also had to remember who Christian was because he’s in the next one. A couple of pages in my copy did come out which is super unfortunate (thanks Amazon) but that’s an aesthetic issue, also there were some spelling and grammar errors, but I can overlook those for the rest of the story that had me laughing so many times. 

The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu (3.5/5)

            Spoilers, I expected more library less children being drained for their youth. I really did. Like spoilers, I expected something wholly different, more dark academic less horror. It was good, it took me a while to get into it and that is totally fine. I will still probably read the second one. I didn’t anticipate the villain, not at all actually and I was shocked when it was revealed. I wish there would have been more context on what happened in Edinburgh so it got that way. (I might have just missed that part and if I did, oops.) I loved the characters though and I cannot wait to see where they go from here. 

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King (4/5)

            I read the seventh and eighth or the eighth and ninth to be honest several years ago so I know some of the things that happen down the road, I think I need to read them again to really appreciate them. I loved this one, I love the character of Sherlock Holmes because he is so much and such a piece of literary canon that just transcends history. I am not thinking about the age gap in this series because, again, I know what happens. Unless I read the other books incorrectly. I wasn’t sure how I would like this one but I got sucked into it hardcore. It was fun and a lot, but everything with Sherlock Holmes is, honest and truly is.

Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wyler (2.2/5)

            And that score is generous. I should have known how the book was going to go when she caught her boyfriend cheating on her like 20 pages in. I literally finished it in an afternoon so I could be done with it. I have a lot of feelings and most of them are not positive. This one was not for me, I thought that Emily Bronte’s ghost was cool but some of the word choice and just the writing in general was not for me. I was spending the whole-time live texting my cousin because I needed someone else to experience this trainwreck with me. Her mom cheated on her dad so her dad isn’t her dad, there is a family curse because their Bronte’s, she forgives the guy who cheats on her. Like girl, run! Her career which sounded super interesting was just pushed to this back burner and it was weird. It was not great, I wanted to like it so much because the premise sounded cool, it was awful. It ended with her pregnant, so cliché, so boring. It was predictable and I was just waiting for it to get interesting and it never did, it was like throwing all of the romance clichés into one book and then saying “good”. Some of this book for sure gave me the ick, it just did and that is 100% my opinion, if you liked this book, cool, it just wasn’t for me. I couldn’t connect with the main character, I just couldn’t. I have read at least a half dozen books this year where so many of these same things happen. 

The Devil’s Workshop (Murder Squad #3) by Alex Grecian (3.7/5)

            The first two were better. Like the most interesting character in this one was Jack the Ripper. It felt messy, it really did. I loved the first two that focused on each of these characters and really built something with them. This one felt like a letdown. There are two more in the series which I will read, but at this moment, I don’t really have high hopes for them. I want to, I really do. I love Victorian era fiction, Jack the Ripper is fascinating, and I have read a lot of Victorian fiction with Jack the Ripper as a character in the last few years. I just couldn’t connect with this one. Walter felt very flat, the whole plot and premise felt rushed and then non-existent and I spent time confused. 

Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoe Sugg (3.5/5)

            I am no longer the target audience for this novel, if I would have read it when it came out in 2016, I would have been a lot closer than I am in 2022. I watched a lot of YouTube at the time and so of course I bought YouTuber books. I liked the first Girl Online when I read it in 2016. I really did at the time. My life has changed since then. It was a good story; it was a cute coming of age novel that was predictable and that’s totally okay. The twists and turns weren’t super twisty, but I am also not the target demographic for this anymore and I feel that bares repeating. I am glad that I did own the trilogy and have for years so I was able to finish it and then I can move on since I have been reading it on and off for the last 8 years. 

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos (4/5)

            I normally don’t read YA, we all know this but this one was so hyped on TikTok and honestly, for good reason. It’s so much! There were so many moments where I was left questioning who to trust and what would happen next. I loved the world building and the characters. I will be reading the next one, I have seen stellar reviews on 2 and 3 but not the fourth one and that’s a little concerning. I kind of want her and Thorn together, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I like the trope of enemies to lovers. Like it’s an arranged marriage and you find out why. It took me a while to get into but then I did and I couldn’t put it down. The world that was spun in this book was amazing, it was deep and rich and I cannot wait to eventually get my hands on the next one. Soon even though I won’t read it for months. 

            Well, I read a dozen books in July. I was hoping to read a few more, but part of July was lost to me because I got sick, so I didn’t do as much as I was planning on. I am excited to finish off my TBR and I am really really hoping to get that done in August. I only have seven books left on my actual TBR pre-planned list from last year for this year so I am hoping to get that done by the end of the August so I can move on and mood read. I want to be able to mood read because I have bought a lot of books this year so far and I have so many more on the list. 

            If you want to check out all the books that I have read this year, you totally can, just click the month! January, February, March, April, May, and June! If you want to see what I have unhauled so far this year you can for sure do that too! 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 9/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul, One Evening in Paris, Solsbury Hill, Girl Online: Going Solo, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 6/9 (because one has been DNFed) (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, Dreams of Distant Shores, )

Historical: 9/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, A Study in Death, In Falling Snow, Sea of Lost Love, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 12/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Study in Ashes, A Clockwork Heart, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Beast’s Heart, A Court of Wings and Ruin, The last Days of Magic, The Devil’s Workshop, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 7/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, The Bodyguard, )

Extras: 19/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games, A Not So Meet Cute, Not the Witch You Wed, Hot Vampire Next Door S3, Hooked, The Flatshare, The Cartographers, Twisted Hate, The Library of the Dead, A Winter’s Promise, )

Books I am Unhauling in 2022 Part 1

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I was not sure if I was going to reveal the books that I was unhauling before the end of the year, but at this point it’s something like 20 at the end of July so I will be doing a January-June post and a July-December post. I will probably have less in the second half because most of the books I am unhauling are from my TBR, not the books I am buying and mood reading. I think there has been one this year from that list that I am unhauling. 

            This was kind of the reason to have a TBR pile, to pick 50 books from the ones that I currently own and read them. I want to weed out books from my permanent collection that I don’t want in my permanent collection. I have two full bags in my living room of books from last year and books from previous years that I have decided to part with. If I made TikTok’s I would for sure make a video on this because let’s be real at this point my blog is a lot more book centered than anything else and I can’t say I am upset about it. 

            Another quick note, I might decide to unhaul more books from the beginning of the year as we get closer to the end, I don’t know yet so if that happens, I will add them to the second half of this post set. 

            All of these are my personal opinions, if you love these books, I love that for you, reading preference is subjective and you might hate the books that I love. That’s what’s cool about reading, we all can read and enjoy what we want. So, don’t come on here and tell me that you loved the book and I’m awful. Even my reading preferences have changed since last year, so roll with me.

            So, like I said, I am unhauling a bunch of books and I am just going to mention them and the reason why and then move on, I will link all of them back to their original reviews if you want to have more information. That’s going to be so much of a pain when I get around to posting this, well that’s okay, it’s for me to worry about and you to click if you want to. 

            I’m doing it by month, I changed my mind so I can just link the month because work smarter not harder or whatever. We’re doing it live. 

January: 

The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne

            I don’t remember much of this book; I had to go back and look at the blog post. It was boring and a lot of threads were just not pulled together right. It was super predictable and it did not age well from when it was published. It was cute, but not enough for me to keep. 

Buffering by Hannah Hart

            I know that people aren’t going to be happy about that one. I was not the target audience for it. I liked My Drunk Kitchen for a long time but I was also more into YouTube at the time. I have several YouTuber books that I have gotten rid of over the years and some that I loved. This one just wasn’t for me and that’s totally cool because it will speak to someone else so much louder than it ever could have for me. 

In the Shadow of Paris by Claude Izner

            It was like the second or third in the series and I was confused and bored. I don’t remember the mystery or any of the characters, there was no impact for me. The formatting and character shifts were confusing as well and just something that I couldn’t jive with. 

February:

Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire

            I thought it was going to be something very different, I love The Nutcracker, I didn’t like this one. The pacing was weird and I spent a lot of time confused. So much time confused. 

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford 

            Interesting concept, didn’t expect the espionage and it’s based in true events. I said in my first review of this I expected more radio less espionage and that is still true. It wasn’t for me and that’s totally cool I promise. 

March: 

Yes I am aware that’s not in focus, that’s how little I cared for the book.

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz

            This book had so many things that give me the ick and apparently that was not how the movie went. Like I have read some bad books this year, this one is in the top five and it’s going, it’s going no matter what. I wasn’t engaged and I was so lost and frustrated with all the tropes that were thrown in.

April: 

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

            I liked this book, but it’s not permanent collection material. It was a good one time read though there was a moment where it almost got thrown across my office, we don’t support incest in this house! 

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

            The ending was disappointing and terrible, the love story was weird, the main character was annoying and I just didn’t like it. It had some fun bits but for the most part it was annoying. I loved so much of it but the last 75 pages or so ruined it and I do mean ruined it for me. 

May: 

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

            I should have DNFed this one. I hated it, it had so much potential but it was lies and not fantasy and I didn’t like it. It triggered me from the first page and I was so against DNFing at the time I let this throw me into a book slump. I already put the second one in my donation bag not even cracked open. 

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

            When I bought it, I would have enjoyed it, it was annoying. Too much useless and needless drama and it was William and Kate, but she makes out with his brother. There is a second one, I don’t care about it. There were times I was cry laughing but then there were times I was reading ahead. If it was like half the pages with about half the drama, I probably would have been really on board with it. 

In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl

            I enjoyed parts of it, I really did but I was so confused through others. I spent a lot of time wondering exactly when in the present it was and you find out all the family drama that just is insane. Like so many twists and I loved the historical part, the rest of it was just ehh for me. 

June: 

The Sleeping King by Bill Flippin and Cindy Dees (DNF)

            I don’t DNF books we all know this. I got like 4 chapters in and I couldn’t keep going, like the forced breeding that is implied, I couldn’t. I was done. It was like someone’s D&D game threw up. I didn’t like it. I have already put the whole series in my donate bag. 

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

            It was cute, I wouldn’t read it again and I didn’t love it enough to keep it. It had a lot of really cute moments but I got triggered by Tiffy’s ex and then the miscommunication trope just didn’t do it for me. Leon’s parts read like a TV script and it was odd, the prose just made it weird. 

The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul by Douglas Adams

            It was interesting, but every time I read Douglas Adams, I don’t like it. I love it as a TV series or movie, but not a novel. The concept was interesting I just struggled through it. Dirk wasn’t actually in it all that much if felt like and the story with Thor and Kate was what kept me reading, nothing else. 

Sea of Lost Love by Santa Montefiore

            This one took months to get into it felt like. I read it quickly because it was a compelling story but there was just a lot of weird in it. The parts in Italy were the most fun, but still a little weird overall.

            I said this in my June post, just because I unhaul a book doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it, I enjoyed a few of the books on here, but these are books that I don’t want in my permanent collection. I read a lot, I write even more, and I spend a lot of time in fictional worlds with fictional character so if I don’t love it, I don’t keep it. 

            Well, I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy out there.

            -MJ

June 2022 Book of The Month Review:

Title: The Stardust Thief

Author: Chelsea Abdullah

Rating: 4.5/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I’m going to be thinking about this book for weeks if not the rest of the year! I need to start out with that. There will probably be spoilers in this post so if you want to read it (which you totally should!) I will see you for the next post. 

            I have had Book of the Month for a year now and this book blew me away! It’s going on the favorites shelf because I need it in my permanent, ‘I keep this out all the time’ collection and recommend it to everyone I know!

            It has so many twists and turns and I love all the magic throughout the story. I got real sad several times because Chelsea, don’t kill my fave character! I love the bodyguard; I love him so much. Like I want a jinn bodyguard! It for sure took me a little while to get into it and then when I did, I watched a film in my head with it. 

            This book has amazing and dimension characters, a brilliant story, and imagery that could rival an actual movie. I loved the building of the story through the relics and the tales told throughout. I loved this book and let’s be real I might change my score on it to a 5 eventually. I loved it. 

            I was so sad multiple times because there is a lot of death, like so much. The twist! I didn’t picture it until like a chapter or two before it happened and man, Omar’s a bitch. That’s it, that’s all I’m saying Omar a bitch. I don’t like to swear on here but he is and he deserves to be called as such. 

            I am so glad that it’s part of a trilogy because this one left it open and now. I need the next one, soon, please, I am begging you. (As someone who writes, I get that it takes a long time to plan, write, and publish (I am still always at the writing stage because I fear rejection)) Though normally I don’t want to read the next book right now. I do want this story to settle in me and this is for sure one that I could reread and that for me is rare. 

            I don’t know a lot of the myths but I loved the Forty Thieves in this, again, huge twist with this. There were so few threads that were left untied and that is so rare for a book. I cannot and I know that I just said this, I cannot wait for the next two. 

            I cannot wait to see the jinn city and learn more of the truth of Qadir. I cannot wait to see where she takes the characters next, I really can’t. I have certain things that I would like to happen, but they probably won’t. 

            If you want a book that touches on the old legend of the Forty Thieves and gives major Aladdin vibes, this book is so for you! A strong female lead, a bumbling but lovable prince, and a really bad ass and protective jinn bodyguard. Magic, jinn, sword fights, all of it. It was so good. I was also totally okay with the shifting perspectives and I am glad it was only three though I would have loved some chapters from Qadir’s point of view I think they would just be him groaning because the humans were getting into trouble. 

            I would say that if you are averse to a lot of mentions of death, suffering, and even torture be aware as you walk into this one. It’s not super focused on, but there is a lot of death involved throughout. 

            If you want to see what else I’ve read this year with Book of The Month, you totally can! January, February, March, April, and May.

            Well, I think that’s about it for me so I will see everyone later in the week with another post and until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ

Books I Read in June 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I was not expecting to have to start this document on June 1st, but here we are and I have already finished a book in June. So, I have to start the post. I am hoping to really knock a big chunk of my current physical TBR, I know that I have my TBR books and my extras books. 

            I am really hoping to read about 13 books this month, if not more. I have the time off so I might as well get some reading done and completed and all of that. I have some books I am really looking forward to reading this month. 

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross (3.7/5)

            This one was cute, I love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, I read all of it in a day. It was predictable because it is for sure a retelling so it is going to be predictable and the last like 20 pages were a little weird. I really enjoyed it though, it took me a little bit to get into but then I for sure got into it. I really liked the mirror mechanic in this one and all of the little twists and turns that were not in the Disney version. Beauty and the Beast is for sure one of my favorite Disney movies so when this was given to me as a gift, I was excited. I have not read the original fairytale but it is for sure a book I own and would like to read eventually. 

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher (4.5/5)

            I picked this one up in March when I was on spring break in Indiana, it was the on the BookTok table, but I have never seen this book on BookTok. Who knows? It was super cute, accepting yourself and all of that. I laughed out loud more times than I would like to admit. I loved Violet and Lincoln’s dynamic and there are of course a lot of tropes that were utilized in this one. It’s of course a happy ending because it wouldn’t be a cute little rom com if there wasn’t a happy ending. I loved the characters and her grandmother is my favorite character in the whole book. I cannot wait for the sequel with her sister Rose as the main character (I think?) I looked at the synopsis for a total of three seconds before adding it to my want to read list. I really enjoyed this one and it was a super cute and quick read. 

Hot Vampire Next Door Season 3 by Nikki St. Crowe (5/5)

            I don’t rate many things five, that’s a hard rating for me to give out, but this one, this whole series has me in its clutches and I cannot wait for the next one! It all takes place over like 48 hours before to during Jessie’s pledge. Like all hell breaks loose and it let me on a cliffhanger! Nikki! Come on! Also, if Jessie and Bran don’t get a happy ending, I will riot, I will 100% riot, no one will know any peace. Like it’s spicy (real spicy and a little dark) and we got some from Bran’s perspective in this one. I cannot, it was so good! I got this like the moment it was released in paperback and then it burned a hole in my desk for two days while I read Not the Witch You Wed, it was so worth the wait though and if I really wanted to, I could read it on Kindle, but I like the tension of me checking Amazon several times a day after the ebook has been released for me to get it in paperback. There are also a lot of tie in plot lines with this one and an expanding world so here is my patiently, but not patiently at all waiting for her to give me more! 

Hooked by Emily McIntire (4.5/5)

            This was not supposed to be my next book, but I got three chapters into another book and got bored so I am going to work on that while I read other books or I am going to get bogged. A very dark reimagining of Peter Pan, hold crap was it spicy and like real dark romance. It was really good though, I read it in two sittings because I could not put it down. Like he’s not a hero, but at this point heroes are a little over rated, I love a good morally grey book boyfriend. It’s about revenge and family and loyalty and betrayal, that one thing can cascade events through time and space and it’s a lot. I have read a lot of Peter Pan themed fiction in the last year or so and this I think has been my favorite. Y’all there are a lot of trigger warnings with this one, if you want to look them up go and do it, it’s not for the faint of heart. I can promise that, it’s so good, but it’s dark. 

The Sleeping King by Bill Flippin and Cindy Dees (DNF)

            I don’t DNF and everyone who has been around my blog for a while knows that. I got like 40 pages in and it just…I didn’t like it. I have decided that I am going to DNF it and the rest of the series. Not every book is for everybody, and this one did threaten to throw me into a reading slump. So, I have chosen to let it go and move on. I am not going to count this toward my TBR now, I will pick another fantasy book from my Extras pile to replace this one. I just decided that this one isn’t for me and instead of slogging through 600 pages or skimming, I’m moving on. I should have done that with a number of books in May and I regret it. This might be your favorite book, but I felt like I was reading a weird transcript of someone’s D&D campaign, also with the forced breeding insinuation and aspect at the beginning, nah, I’m good.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (3.5/5)

            It was a cute book; the premise was really fun. There were just some things that rubbed me as a person the wrong way. I loved Leon and Tiffy and the whole concept of getting to know someone through post-it’s that is so cute and I do mean so cute. The unhinged ex-boyfriend, that hit me, that was weird and like emotional manipulation and gaslighting is never okay in a relationship. If you do something wrong, own it. Don’t let someone feel like they aren’t good enough because you want to be right. I have dealt with emotional manipulation in life more than I would like to discuss and reading this it hit me. There were some things that I feel like got left or untethered, was there ever a restraining order? The epilogue was what lost me on it, it really was, it was cute and they finally get together and he proposes with notes but not with words, I understand being an introvert, but that was a lot. The writing style with Leon’s chapters was also more like a transcript than prose and it was odd. It was cute, don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the cute little romcom, but I think that it will suit someone else’s bookshelf better.

The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul by Douglas Adams (2.8/5)

            Okay, I loved the TV series, I really did it was so good and this series as a written model just doesn’t make any sense to me. I finished this because I had to. Like I liked the parts with Thor and Kate in them more than I liked the parts with Dirk Gently in them, I will be unhauling it because I don’t want them in my permanent collection. I skimmed a lot of it, I don’t and didn’t mean to skip pieces of it but I just couldn’t get into it like I wanted to. But I’m done with it and that’s fine. I know that Douglas Adams is one of those authors that so many people love, I just didn’t and that’s okay. 

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah (4.5/5)

            This one was my June Book of The Month, it will have its own post up soon. I will be thinking about this book for the rest of the year! I loved it so much and I cannot wait for the other two! Like it took me a while to get into it and then I could not put it down, I loved the characters, the story, the imagery. The ending of this one, I cannot wait for the next one! 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (5/5)

            It should shock no one that this series is a 5 for me. This book was amazing. I laughed so hard at some points and almost cried at others. Like there are so many twists and turns and a few times I for sure said “holy plot twists Batman” thanks to BookTok I know some things, but there was a part that my heart stopped beating in my chest. I was like Sarah! Sarah, don’t you do this to me. I love the bat boys, but I would be blind and stupid not to. A lot of people that I have seen on BookTok did not like this book all that much, I loved it. (I also finished the day I found out that I didn’t get a job I wanted so it hurt for a lot of different reasons.) A Court of Frost and Starlight is actually the last book on my TBR for this year so I am looking forward to reading that one too. 

Sea of Lost Love by Santa Montefiore (3.5/5)

            It took me a long time to get into it. Like it was a who-don-it with several interesting twists, I called most of them. The plot felt a little messy for me and I had some moments where I wasn’t sure whose perspective it was in. I enjoyed it for the feel-good parts of the story, not the espionage parts. The whole plot line with the priest was a little weird. The parts in Italy were the best, it was just a lot to be honest. I liked it, I have had it in my collection for a really long time and it was time to read it. If you like a British high-born family in the late 1950’s falling apart at the seams, this one is for sure for you. 

            I didn’t hit my 13 goal and that’s okay, I read a lot of big books this month and I took some days off. I also wrote over 250,000 words in June and that is so many words, like I finished drafting three books, as of right now and I still have two days left. I might get another in that I started this month. I have been off in my own head a lot and sometimes that means I don’t read as much. 

            I am unhauling four books this month, which is weird for me. I also unhauled a whole series because I got 40 pages in the first one and didn’t want to read anymore, so I am just letting the whole series go. I did still read quite a bit this month, I enjoyed most of the books that I read, I am going to say that. Just because I am unhauling the book does not necessarily mean I didn’t enjoy it. I just never plan on reading it again. 

            I want a library and I know that takes 1,000 books, but I want to make sure of those 1,000 books that I love every single one. I like a lot of books, but if I want them in my permanent collection, I have to love them. If the ones I unhaul are your favorite books, that’s totally okay! We all love what we love and we can get along, I promise, we don’t have to step on each other’s toes to just live. 

            If you want to check out what else I have read this year, you totally can because there are over 60 books now. January, February, March, April, and May

            Alright, I was going to give my normal end of post salutation, but with everything that’s happening in the world right now, stay safe out there. Be nice to each other. A lot of us are going through it. 

            -MJ 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 6/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 5/9 (because one has been DNFed) (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, )

Historical: 8 /10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, A Study in Death, In Falling Snow, Sea of Lost Love, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 10/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Study in Ashes, A Clockwork Heart, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Beast’s Heart, A Court of Wings and Ruin, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 6/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, )

Extras: 16/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games, A Not So Meet Cute, Not the Witch You Wed, Hot Vampire Next Door S3, Hooked, The Flatshare, )

May 2022 Book of The Month Review:

Title: Darling Girl

Author: Liz Michalski

Rating: 4/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are, I have had book of the month for almost a year now which is super cool because I had read a lot of really amazing books. This was for sure one of them, it was a lot. I am going to start out by saying that.

            There are going to be spoilers so if you want to read the book, stop reading this, I will see you in the next post. 

            A Darling, Wendy’s granddaughter, has secrets and they are starting to pile up and spill out. This book had a really slow start and then it really kicked off, you have to get through like the first 30 or so percent of the novel but after that it moves fast. 

            Holly is trying her best, she lost her husband and one of her twin sons and her daughter is in a coma, she’s trying to keep a company together while also trying to grow it and raise a teenage boy who is brooding and she’s trying to protect him. Her daughter’s blood has some sort of healing protein, which, cool. 

            Her daughter goes missing and that’s a lot because she’s been in a coma for ten years. So she goes to London, she suspects that Peter Pan, yes that Peter Pan has her because Peter is the girl’s father. There is mention of sexual assault so that is for sure a trigger warning for those of you who don’t like that. Peter is unhinged, like super unhinged. This is why heroes are overrated, well, what we know of them. 

            There is a lot of mentions of the original book, which I read last year and of course we have all seen the Disney film. 

            The twists and turns of trying to find her daughter take her to a hook handed man, and of course thanks to Once Upon a Time all I could picture was Hook from that show and well, here we are. Private detective with a motorcycle who’s a combat vet, he’s brooding and so much cooler than Peter.

            It’s a lot of deception and lies, there are for sure a lot of those throughout the story, I liked Holly as a character, when you are given two impossible choices you have to pick the lesser of two evils and that’s about what it is for her. 

            Peter Pan has had a lot of retellings over the years, I have a few of them in my collection from the original to The Child Thief by Brom, which needs to be on my list to actually read because that book is beautiful. I started it my senior year of high school (so 2010) and it’s been on shelf ever since, but I wanted that book for such a long time and it was worth the price.

            This book was great, I actually really enjoyed it once I got into it. The ending comes up quick and it leaves it open, I don’t mind the openness of it. I wish that they would have wrapped up what happened with Elliot though because I feel like that could come back and bite someone in the butt later on. 

            Her company was kind of secondary to the rest of the story which I was totally okay with. 

            There is a lot of family expectations in this novel and that’s totally cool as well, that dynamic really did spur the story forward throughout because while Holly is the main character seeing Jane, who is Wendy’s daughter and a typical London socialite grow and change throughout the story was really nice. I love a good dynamic character, but who doesn’t.

            Peter in this one is kind of terrifying, like I wouldn’t want to be young forever and there is a lot of loss of innocence moments throughout, innocence in different ways mind you. 

            Seriously though if you are trigger by drug use or sexual assault, I would tread carefully, it’s not a big theme but they are both still there in the story. 

            Alright if you want to see what else I have read this year, you totally can, January, February, March, and April.

            I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then I hope that everyone has a safe, happy, and healthy week.

            -MJ 

Books I Read in May 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are, in May, how? How is it already May? Aldo how am I currently (at the time of writing this part of my post on May 3rd) at 44 books read. How? Last year I didn’t hit the 40’s until August, it’s May. 

            I blame BookTok and my need to read like 100 pages a night. I would probably be at 45 or 46 if I hadn’t taken some nights off…oops. 

            I am hoping to be done with my TBR pile by the end of the summer and then just read what I want the rest of the year, which will be super dangerous because when I get sad, I buy books. Seriously though, my love language is books, I have determined that. Just books, buying them, reading them, talking about them, writing them; that’s it, that’s me.

            Well, I have my first book though and I want to talk about it!

A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby #4) (4/5)

            I love this series, I picked this series up because I was in a bookstore in like 2015 this was the book on the shelf and wanted it, but this was the fourth one in the series so I had to order the first one and then I read it in like 2016, I read the second one in 2020, and the third one last year. I love the series because Kiera is amazing, but I love a strong Victorian woman in a time that women were meant to be seen not heard. This one had me guessing throughout, I didn’t guess until it was pretty much revealed and I love a mystery that keeps me completely guessing until the end. I cannot wait to read the next one, it’s on my TBR for next year already because I have very little self-control when it comes to mysteries. (All books, I’m lying, it’s all books.) If you like a strong heroine and Scotland, I would suggest this one to you. 

A Not so Meet Cute by Meghan Quinn (4.8/5)

            I read it in one day, this book had me in a choke hold from about chapter two. It took me a second to get into it and then, man, did it hook me. Fake dating and all of that is a trope that would not work for me in real life, but in books it always turns into real dating. Huxley. I mean…that’s it, that’s the sentence. I loved the whole book, it was so good, the ending was a little abrupt but I am totally for it. It was spicy, not as spicy as I figured it would be, this was a ‘I saw three sentences on TikTok and bought it.’ This was for sure a BookTok made me buy it book, and it was so good. He flies her to Portland for a concert! Where are these guys in real life? I mean, they exist, I hope? It was really good and the scene in the dining room, wow. 

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (2/5)

            This one had such potential. I didn’t like it, I thought the premise was super interesting when I picked it up, time travel in Victorian London, sign me up. It was three stories and I was confused, the prose was great but so dense that I skimmed parts because I was getting bogged down in it. Lots of lies and deceit, I just didn’t like it. I have the second one, I will be unhauling without reading because I cannot suffer through another 600-page novel that I am not enjoying. That’s right, I read the whole thing because I cannot DNF. Like there were like 30 interesting pages in the mid-500’s and that was it. It starts out literally with a guy picking a gun to kill himself. That was trigger for page one and it didn’t get any better than that. 

Darling Girl by Liz Michalski (4/5)

            I wrote a whole post on it, literally a whole post because this was my May Book of the Month, so that will be out soon. I really enjoyed it, there are a few trigger warnings (drug use and mentions and depictions of SA) so go into that mindful to that if you want to read it. It’s fast paced and very twisty, sometimes we don’t like the hero anymore, though all villains are just heroes in their own minds. 

A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz (3.6/5)

            I read the first one in the series last fall and I ordered the third as I was finishing this one. It’s good, I liked the story, it was for sure a slow start and this one hurts. Like you want people to have a happy ending and I know there will be bumps in the road to a happy ending, but if this one doesn’t end happy you bet your sweet bippy that they will be unhauled. I will unhaul them if I am left feeling unfulfilled because the Goodreads reviews say that there was supposed to be a fourth one, well the third one was published in 2014 and nothing since then. Right, it picks up with Elle and Marsh, who I love together, then he gets taken made into a zombie and she’s trying to free him. The ending hurt! It hurt so much! 

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (2.5/5)

            I wanted to like it, I really did, like I bought this and I was so excited because who doesn’t love a royal love story (this was seriously a pretty carbon copy to a certain royal love story we saw in the early 2010’s). It was so long! It had some really funny parts but the rest of it I slogged through, there was just so much needless and senseless drama involved. Like this book was just not for me I guess and that’s fine. Like they didn’t need to have his brother in love with her too, that was so unnecessary. I will not be reading the second one because I don’t care, I honestly and truly do not care about the resolution of Bex and Nick’s story, this will be unhauled. I almost DNFed this book a half dozen times but I would have stressed about not finishing it. It had so much potential and I found myself just trying to get through it, I don’t read ahead, I read ahead because I really did want to see if it was worth finishing. It had a happy ending? I have no idea because I gave up my interest in it. Seriously, so much potential and it just didn’t do it for me. Not every book is for everybody and this one was clearly not for me. (This was book fifty of the year though.)  

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (4/5)

            I liked it, it took a while for me to get into it and I really left the door open (pun accidental but intended) for a sequel because there are a lot of threads left unbound. The splicing in of the Ten Thousand Doors really detracted from the story for me. I understand having to put context on things but they were so long and wordy, like those are what took me the longest and after they ended it was so much better and a much more fun story to read. I loved the characters and all that and do I hope that there is a second one of January going through all of these worlds and opening the doors back up, yes, I really do because I would read that. I would read that hardcore. I know that it’s a story within a story within a book and I understand that, but I need to have a more resolved ending than how this epilogue ended. 

In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl (2.5/5)

            I didn’t really enjoy it. There were too many randoms shifts in the timeline, if it would have all been WW1, I think it would have been better. There was too much drama and a lot of stuff that just felt unnecessary to the plot of the story. It left me feeling unfulfilled and that’s okay. The World War One stuff was compelling, the present? 80’s? I am not really sure when it took place in the “present”, but I was confused and it was just odd. I wasn’t even sure if it was taking place in Australia in the present or not, I think it was? I really don’t know, I think so. The chapters were either like three pages or 60 pages and that’s too much. Too much! I was just confused for 450 pages, it had potential, it didn’t deliver. 

            So that’s it for May, I had a really unfulfilling reading month and that is disappointing. Like I read nine books, I will be unhauling three and I wasn’t super wowed! by any of them. That’s so hard, why was A Not So Meet Cute the most exciting book I read this month. I liked most of them, I did, but some just left me feeling like I could easily stop reading all together, and I know that I am on book 54 of the year and we aren’t even halfway through the year. I know that some of them will not be winners, I am completely aware of that because when I bought a lot of them, I was a different reader. 

            I have some books that I will be reading in June that I am super excited about and I am so looking forward too, I want to get through the TBR so I can read whatever I want. I changed my Goodreads goal from 75 books to 100 books and I cannot believe that I did that. (I also didn’t think that I would have already finished writing three entire books this year already, but here we are.) 

            If you want to see what else I have read this year, you completely and totally can, some months are better than this one, I promise: January, February, March, and April

            Well, I will be back later in the week with another post so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

            -MJ 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 5/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 5/10 (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, )

Historical: 7/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, A Study in Death, In Falling Snow, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 8/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Study in Ashes, A Clockwork Heart, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 5/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, )

Extras: 12/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games, A Not So Meet Cute, )